You’ve known for a long time that a good hug can do wonders for yourself and for your loved ones. What you might not have known is that science confirms that hugs do in fact make you feel better.

In a study tracking the effects of a 20-second hug between females and their partners, it was found that women were actually much more chemically affected by the hug than their male counterparts. The stress hormone Cortisol decreased, as well as blood pressure. In addition, oxytocin was released, which affects bonding and feel-good emotions.

These are important findings, and one that partners and spouses of females should take into account. Touch is a major component for improving your relationship and maintaining that spark between you. But, as science has shown, women in particular benefit from hugs and touch.

As a Portland marriage counselor, I highly recommend that you take time to be with one another and connect both physically and mentally. It’s not hard to find time every day for a 20-second hug – or many hugs, for that matter!

Snuggle with one another on the couch. Hold hands or put your arm around her when you walk outside. And frequently hug her when you’re at home. That connection will become both a habit and a necessary part of your day, one that calms both of you.

And if either of you is ever worried about being too “lovey-dovey”, remember the science behind it! You are only strengthening your marriage and helping to improve your spouse’s mood.